Colleen DeCourcy Defines Bravery

On October 1st, the industry gathered at Advertising Week XI  for”ANDY 50 Defining Bravery“, a session hosted by The AD Club in honor of the 50th anniversary of The International ANDY Awards. Throughout this year, the ANDYs have united the industry to celebrate the past five decades advertising and usher in the future with a platform centered on bravery. Because bravery is something that resonates with our industry, and the future of the ad business relies on those who are brave enough to challenge the status quo and push the envelope for the sake of creating a stronger future industry.

The event host and outgoing 2014 ANDYs Chairman, David Droga, invited three industry icons — Cindy Gallop, Gerry Graf and Colleen DeCourcy — to inspire audience members with stories of bravery in advertising and creativity. After, three audience members were randomly selected to come up on stage and share their own stories of bravery.

Here’s what Colleen DeCourcy, Partner, Global Executive Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy had to say:


Colleen opened her speech by taking off most (not all) of her clothes, because in order to say what she had to say, and make a real connection, she had to be completely vulnerable. No armor, no pitching, no b*llsh*t — just truth.
“Although we spent a whole week talking about it, digital media is not going to save our business. Empathy and creativity are the only things we have. 44% growth in digital media put me in this job. But that’s an armor, not really a truth. The digital media game is a hedged bet against mediocre ideas. The money that lays out there that’s our growth, very little is going into the making of ideas in the digital space or use of technology. It has little to do with emotion. As you move away from the center of what we do, it becomes machine to machine. It’s slicing and dicing to ensure ideas get heard; but that’s not creivyty or what we do. Creativity requires vulnerability and that’s its strength.”
“We are all narcissists. Narcissism is the fear of being ordinary. Isn’t that what drives us? A fear of being regular. What if regular is really our power? All we have is our connection and our ideas that we share. The one I’ve learned in the last two years is that the connection to the world around us creates real thoughts. Don’t spend time worrying if you are current and about media and partnerships and deals. That money is part of our industry but I don’t think it belongs to us; it’s just there. If you keep yourself vulnerable to the new, you will always find a way forward. And never lose your voice.”
“Bravery and creativity are like bellstock – will never be worthless. Vulnerability is what will get us far. Being open and accepting failure is courage of ‘I’m going to do my best, and there is nothing you can kill me with that I didn’t just hand to you myself.’ Great creativity scales itself and two people can be the most powerful agency in the world if you really believe in it.”